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How to Effectively Communicate With Seniors

The aging process impacts seniors’ physiological processes. For this reason, it’s essential to understand communication styles that work for them. Sometimes, techniques that work for younger people won’t work for older individuals.

With a bit of effort, you can practice conversing with the elderly. Here, we discuss five practical tips to help you effectively communicate with seniors.

1.    Speak Clearly

Some elderly relatives don’t like to admit that they already have trouble hearing or understanding conversations around them. If you want to include them in exchanges, make an effort to help them understand you.

Speak louder and slower and enunciate your words. Avoid talking too quickly and all at once. Also, Use short, simple words and sentences and stick to one topic at a time. These habits take some getting used to, but your senior loved ones will appreciate your efforts.

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2.    Be Patient and Compassionate

As the body ages, physiological functions change with it. Because of a decline in cognitive, hearing, and speech functions, conversations with senior loved ones may be slower than they used to be.

When this happens, never rush or push them for answers.  Learn to accept that there will be moments of silence and times when they need to think about what to say to you.

Also, take the time to listen intently to the things they want to share with you. Pay attention to their body language and facial expressions to gauge how they feel about a topic.

3.    Respect Opinion Differences

People have a right to think for themselves — even those in their golden years. Whenever you have opinion differences with older family members, let respect win over unnecessary arguments that could hurt other people’s feelings.

Just as you want others to understand your point of view without judgment, seniors do too. If you have to make decisions based on feedback, listen to all sides and find a compromise acceptable for everyone.

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4.    Choose the Right Environment

Older individuals tend to develop over-sensitivity to lights and sounds as they age. If you want to communicate with an aging grandparent or parent, minimize distractions around you like television sets, tablets, or cellphones. These will make it harder for them to understand you. Face the person as you speak so they can see your facial expressions and read your lips if necessary.

When you need to have a conversation with a senior, do it at home. Doing so helps you control external factors better.

5.    Don’t Be Condescending

The worst thing you can do is to talk down to seniors. Even if you have to speak loudly, slowly, and with emphasis, it’s essential not to patronize them. For instance, you don’t have to talk like a baby, make weird hand gestures, or underestimate their communication skills.

To show the elderly how much you respect them, practice face-to-face communication at the same eye level. Never make them feel looked down on, invisible, or inferior.

6. Offer Choices

Conversation is important for seniors to maintain their cognitive health and quality of life. Everyone is different, so you may have to adjust your approach and style based on the senior’s personality. Most importantly, make sure you give your loved ones space to talk and listen actively to what they have to say.

Provide Seniors with Comfortable In-Home Care Services

Once you decide to care for older loved ones at home, it’s best to learn everything you can about making them as comfortable as possible. It will be a welcome bonus to be close to relatives and friends.

To learn more about home health care and in-home senior care for older loved ones, call us at (419) 754-1897. We want to help you create a loving, safe, and enjoyable environment for them.